Ten reasons Christmas is my favourite day of the year

Christmas is my favourite day of the year. Always has been. I wonder why.

My tree
  1. I love the anticipation. Probably more than the day itself, I love the run up – getting things prepared, making plans, organising.
  2. For a little while everyone seems friendly. When I am out walking the dogs, strangers greet me with a “Happy Christmas” instead of ignoring me. People all seem to smile a little more, be more patient.
  3. I like food. I like drink. I realise it can be excessive, especially the Christmas lunch. But there is a generosity in excess that I love.
  4. So many happy memories of Christmases past. As a child excited to find out what Father Christmas had left. As an adult making it just right for my own children.
  5. I love the carols and ceremonies. My Dad was a vicar, and even just the smell of a church at Christmas reminds me of the time when we came out of a midnight service to find snow falling on Christmas Day.
  6. I love the decorations, the tree bedecked with baubles and tinsel, the cards around the rooms, the lights.
  7. I love hearing from distant friends. Even if it is just a note in a Christmas Card once a year, it maintains the connection. We had a visitor from New Zealand this week, who we had only seen once in the past 30 years. But we had stayed in touch at Christmas and it made this week’s visit possible and memorable.
  8. Cold is good. I much prefer cold weather to hot weather. Last week in particular was crisp, bright and very cold. Nothing better than going out for a bracing walk, and then returning to a warm house and a wood burning stove.
  9. I really like Christmas films. I am a real weeper for soppy films and they don’t get much more soppy than at Christmas.
  10. It is all about family. We are fortunate enough to have our sons with us this year, and I am so looking forward to our time together – playing games, eating, drinking, chatting, slobbing.
My fire

On the narrowboat, the dogs food is kept in an old Christmas tin, with the label “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Hardly a day goes by through the summer, when I don’t hum the song to myself, because for me it is true.

To my blog followers and readers, whatever your faith, I wish you a very merry Christmas and hope you too enjoy a bit of seasonal magic this year.

Don’t I care about losing my Dad?

My father passed away this week. I have written before about him. He has had advanced Alzheimer’s for several years and in recent times has been a shell of what he was. He knew no-one, could not communicate, could not understand, was incontinent and immobile. It made me deeply sad and angry. I still expected however, that when he passed I would be upset. And yet this week I have been very matter of fact, getting on with the logistics. I am definitely more relieved than grieving. So am I kidding myself? Will this come and hit me later? Or did I do my grieving as he deteriorated and I lost the father and man he once was?

Rev. Brian James Coleman 1936-2022

He was a traditional father. I don’t remember him ever hugging me. There were four of us children and as we grew up he was always there for us, but in a quite hands-off way. If we had an intellectual argument he became engaged and was fascinated. He was less good with emotions. This is a little odd because he was a parish priest, and empathy with people in tough situations was part of the job. I think it was just that underneath the image of the vicar, he was always a shy man. I think he was proud of me. I was certainly proud of him.

I do have very happy memories of him. We were lucky to have a stable and safe family environment. There was never much money around, but he kept us clothed and fed. I would add “warm” but we grew up in cold, draughty vicarages where you would wake up to ice patterns on the inside of the bedroom windows. But I am not complaining. That was normal in our generation and we were happy. And we were free. He and our Mum always encouraged our independence. I could leave the house first thing and not return till dusk. From an early age I would go to cub camps, or music weekends by myself. I learnt to be self reliant, in terms of my physical and emotional needs. It made me who I am.

This week I have loved reading the many “With Sympathy” cards that my Mum has received. Dad was involved in many clubs and activities and was held in great respect. What I have loved the most is that these memories are all of how he was before the awful disease took him away. It has helped me remember that man. I loved him.

Bye Dad x

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